Coming Home

NCWA welcomes Deb Kalmbach.

Last May, I came home once again. I attended the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal in Seattle. I love working the registration desk because I get to throw my arms around old friends and give an enthusiastic welcome to newcomers. I imagine the bright, new world opening up to them.

I remember my first writers conference. It’s still a mystery how the conference brochure showed up in my mailbox that summer in 1986. The invitation to Seattle Pacific University’s writers conference, the one our Writers Renewal has evolved from, piqued my curiosity.

My life had felt like a major detour. I had been sentenced to the couch with a knee injury. Two surgeries later, I was still trying to manage chronic pain. SPU’s invitation grabbed me by surprise and got me thinking beyond a patella (knee cap) that didn’t track properly. I sent in my registration with eager anticipation.

When I hobbled onto the campus with cane in hand, I wondered why I had thought this was a good idea. I felt like a 13-year old on my first day of junior high–scared spit less! But something happened during those two days. Even though it was my first experience with writers, I felt familiar. This was where I was supposed to be. I sensed a new journey had begun…one of stringing words together, being honest and true about my own life experiences; the joys, sorrows, and disappointments. I came away committed to write about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. No matter what’s going on around us. Since then, I’ve had the incredible privilege of sharing this hope far beyond what I could have imagined.

On my drive home from this year’s conference, gratitude welled up inside me. How amazing it is to have the support and encouragement from a community of writers who share the journey with me. These are friends who have not only extended their hands to help me, but also their hearts. We are in this together. We’re not fierce competitors who clutch our creativity for fear someone else might steal it. Editors, agents, and workshop leaders reiterated the message: we are here to help you succeed. And they mean it.

The next time you feel frustrated because of some unplanned life-detour, don’t despair. This might be the catalyst pointing you in the direction where God is calling, where He can use you and your strengths for His greatest purpose. Without that annoying, difficult time-out in my life, I might not have found my way home.


Deb Kalmbach will be speaking at NCWA’s meeting on November 7th.

Deb is the author of Because I Said Forever: Embracing Hope in a Not-So-Perfect Marriage (co-authored with Heather Kopp) and the author of a book for children, Corey’s Dad Drinks Too Much (under pen name Anne Courtney). She has been a contributor to many books, including The New Women’s Devotional Bible and Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace. She has written for Focus on the Family, Christian Parenting Today, and many other publications. Deb can be found on-line at:


4 thoughts on “Coming Home

  1. You are right about life detours! What would we do without them. They often usher us into something better and brighter. And even when they are painful detours, there is always an opportunity buried inside them to reach out, to heal, and to grow. Looking forward to hearing you speak in November!


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